to prick or wound with a sharp-pointed, often venom-bearing organ.
to affect painfully or irritatingly as a result of contact, as certain plants do: to be stung by nettles.
to cause to smart or to cause a sharp pain: The blowing sand stung his eyes.
to cause mental or moral anguish: to be stung with remorse.
to goad or drive, as by sharp irritation.
Slang. to cheat or take advantage of, especially to overcharge; soak.
to use, have, or wound with a sting, as bees.
to cause a sharp, smarting pain, as some plants, an acrid liquid or gas, or a slap or hit.
to cause acute mental pain or irritation, as annoying thoughts or one's conscience: The memory of that insult still stings.
to feel acute mental pain or irritation: He was stinging from the blow to his pride.
to feel a smarting pain, as from a blow or the sting of an insect:His cheeks stung from the hail.
an act or instance of stinging:The allergic reaction to a sting may be delayed for several hours.
a wound, pain, or smart caused by stinging:After an hour or so, the throbbing of the wasp sting subsided to a dull ache.
any sharp physical or mental wound, hurt, or pain:Laser treatment for wrinkles sounds like magic, but some people can’t tolerate the accompanying sting and burn.
anything or an element in anything that wounds, pains, or irritates: to feel the sting of defeat;Death, where is thy sting?
capacity to wound or pain: Satire has a sting.
a sharp stimulus or incitement: driven by the sting of jealousy;the sting of ambition.
Botany. a glandular hair on certain plants, as nettles, that emits an irritating fluid.
Zoology. any of various sharp-pointed, often venom-bearing organs of insects and other animals capable of inflicting painful or dangerous wounds.
an ostensibly illegal operation, as the buying of stolen goods or the bribing of public officials, used by undercover investigators to collect evidence of wrongdoing.
Television.Sometimes stinger . a brief burst of music or a sound effect used to emphasize a moment of humor, drama, or fright in a show, or to punctuate a transition or another part of a show’s structure.
- sting·ing·ly, adverb
- sting·less, adjective
- out·sting, verb (used with object), out·stung, out·sting·ing.
- re·sting, verb, re·stung, re·sting·ing.
- un·sting·ing, adjective
- un·sting·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use sting in a sentence
Now, as female-founded businesses feel the sting of the pandemic, it’s up to these large institutional backers to get us to the next stage.Institutional investors must take action on diversity in venture capital | ehinchliffe | August 31, 2020 | Fortune
While the company wouldn’t say how much revenue that equals or what base the growth was from, that lift had to take some of the sting out of cratering ad sales figures.How Hearst UK’s e-commerce revenue grew 322% during the second quarter | Lucinda Southern | August 21, 2020 | Digiday
People who blunder too close can get painful stings, says Bob Jacobson.
Less-quoted parts of this report from Japan point out that of the 15 people hospitalized for stings and discussed in the paper, those with fewer than 50 stings had a good chance of surviving.
Schmidt has spent decades recording how painful he finds various stings.
sting took over the lead role to try to draw an audience, but his thumpingly inspirational score was already the hero of the show.Hedwig, Hugh & Michael Cera: 12 Powerhouse Theater Performances of 2014 | Janice Kaplan | December 31, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
And unless Republicans start pursuing very different priorities in Congress, that prognosis could sting.
The “Sunday Mirror” says it was in the ‘public interest’ to entrap a Conservative MP in an elaborate sex sting.U.K. Tabloid Absurdly Claims ‘Public Interest’ Served in Politician’s Sex Sting | Lizzie Crocker | September 30, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Now sting gets his turn, with this musical that he based on his own experiences growing up near a shipyard.Fall Broadway Preview: 'This Is Our Youth,' Bradley Cooper as ‘The Elephant Man,' and More | Janice Kaplan | September 11, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Strangely, he did this by diluting the sting of the ant scene.Whit Stillman on the 20th Anniversary of ‘Barcelona’, His New Amazon Series, and the Myth of the Ugly Expat | Michael Weiss | August 10, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The swift breeze seemed to Edna to bury the sting of it into the pores of her face and hands.The Awakening and Selected Short Stories | Kate Chopin
We passed several large sting-rays asleep on the surface of the sea, which our people ineffectually endeavoured to harpoon.
Did still its thorn within my bosom lodge,As I the past recalled; but shame, indeed,Left not its cruel sting within this heart.The Poems of Giacomo Leopardi | Giacomo Leopardi
"Your bath is ready, sir," said a steward, and a minute later he felt the welcome sting of the cold salt water.The Everlasting Arms | Joseph Hocking
There is a sharp sting in my tongue, my jaws are gripped as by a vise, and my mouth is torn open.Prison Memoirs of an Anarchist | Alexander Berkman
British Dictionary definitions for sting
(of certain animals and plants) to inflict a wound on (an organism) by the injection of poison
to feel or cause to feel a sharp mental or physical pain
(tr) to goad or incite (esp in the phrase sting into action)
(tr) informal to cheat, esp by overcharging
a skin wound caused by the poison injected by certain insects or plants
pain caused by or as if by the sting of a plant or animal
a mental pain or pang: a sting of conscience
a sharp pointed organ, such as the ovipositor of a wasp, by which poison can be injected into the prey
the ability to sting: a sharp sting in his criticism
something as painful or swift of action as a sting: the sting of death
a sharp stimulus or incitement
botany another name for stinging hair
slang a swindle or fraud
slang a trap set up by the police to entice a person to commit a crime and thereby produce evidence
sting in the tail an unexpected and unpleasant ending
- stinging, adjective
- stingingly, adverb
- stingingness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
Other Idioms and Phrases with sting
see take the sting out of.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.